Giant bird poses threat to small dogs in Devon

by Mark James on October 21, 2011

Owners of small dogs or puppies in Devon have been warned of the possibility of their pet being carried off – by a huge Eagle Owl that is on the hunt for prey.

The residents of Bideford did a double take as they spied the massive bird perched on a window ledge. Nina Wickman, 31, had a close encounter with the bird, and spoke of how bystanders were trying to work out what it was. When it spread its wings to fly, she managed to get a picture of it. Speaking to the Daily Mail, she said:

“It was an incredible sight. It’s not every day you see a giant bird of (more…)

Bomb dog retires after illustrious career

by Mark James on October 20, 2011

A bomb sniffer dog that dodged death over five tours of duty has retired with full honours.

Buster, who was attached to the RAF, has earned himself an impressive row of medals following campaigns in Iraq, Bosnia and Afghanistan and what’s more, rather than turn his back on the military forever, he is now the official mascot for the RAF Police.

The 9-year-old springer spaniel help to avoid countless deaths in theatres of conflict, from identifying would-be suicide bombers armed with explosive-laden vests and chasing down Taliban warriors, to sniffing out improvised explosive devices designed to kill unwary American and British troops.

However, his days of front line heroism are now behind him and he is enjoying a well-earned retirement living with his handler Sergeant Michael Barrow, of the RAF Police.

Speaking to the Daily Mail, Sgt Barrow praised Buster’s bravery at the sharp end of the war on terror:

“Each time [we were attacked], Buster waited calmly for the action to cease, then carried on his search for improvised explosive devices, and keeping patrols safe.”

However, as anybody who has ever seen The Deer Hunter will attest, adjusting to civilian life after experiencing the horror of war can be difficult, and Buster is no exception. Sgt Barrow commented:

“We had to teach Buster to play with the other dogs.”

“When he was a working dog he only got toys when he made a find. And when he came home he collected up all the dogs’ toys and became very protective of them.”

What is involved in owning a dog?

by Leanne Thompson on October 19, 2011

Everyone knows that getting a dog requires a really big commitment, especially in terms of time and attention. Dogs are usually not independent, and require love and care as well as time spent training and exercising them regularly. This is often part of their appeal as a pet. However, there is a practical commitment in terms of money. Dogs can be expensive to keep, not (more…)

Puppy training tips

by Vivien Richardson on October 18, 2011

Some puppy training tips can be very absolute. For example, some will advocate the use of treats whilst some will claim that you must not give your puppy treats. Some tell you to only reward and make a fuss of the puppy’s good behaviour whilst others say you must just punish the puppy’s bad behaviour.

The truth is there is no magic formula to training a puppy and no absolute ‘right’ way to do things. Whatever the puppy training approach that you are going to take, the key is to always be consistent in your methods. Puppies (more…)

Hanoi rocked as dog thefts turn deadly

by Darren Jamieson on October 17, 2011

Dognapping has taken a deadly turn in Vietnam, as gangs of professional thieves roam the streets in search of victims.

Nguyen Van Cuong, a resident of Hanoi, heard his neighbour’s cries for help after his dog had been snatched up by two thieves on a motor bike. As the pair gave chase, the criminals fended them off by throwing bricks. Unfortunately, one struck an innocent bystander, and killed him.

Tran The Thieu, a police chief in the province of Nghe An, said of the spate of thefts:

“Dog thieves are getting more aggressive — they steal villagers’ dogs in broad daylight.”

“People are very angry to see their dogs stolen and dog thieves are rarely arrested.”

In fact, the thieves haven’t had it all their own way. Mobs have formed to protect their pets, and have (more…)

How to tell when your dog is pregnant

by Leanne Thompson on October 16, 2011

There are some recognisable symptoms in dogs, just as there are in humans, when your dog is pregnant. They go through stages and display signs which you can look out for if you think that your dog is expecting.

Firstly, your dog will display some changes in appetite – dogs can get morning sickness too! At the beginning, your dog may not have their usual appetite although this will change as the pregnancy progresses and they will soon regain their appetite and start to gain weight. Your pregnant pet may be lazier than normal too, depending on the breed of dog. She may not (more…)

Tips on housetraining a new puppy

by Vivien Richardson on October 15, 2011

Getting your puppy housetrained is one of the first challenges you will face when you first bring home the new addition to your family. Housetraining your puppy and making sure they understand to go outside when they need to relieve themselves should be started as early as possible to save yourself a lot of cleaning up!

The amount of time it takes to housetrain a puppy varies from dog to dog, so you need to ensure that you are patient. However, your efforts will be rewarded as your puppy should learn quicker the more time you spend training your pet. When you bring home (more…)

Conker reunites stolen dog with owners

by Mark James on October 14, 2011

A stolen dog is safely back with its family after nearly a year and a half – thanks to a close encounter with a conker.

Molly, a King Charles Spaniel, was taken by thieves in a car park. Seventeen months on, any hopes her owners Tom and Andrea Richards had of seeing her again had all but vanished.

However, following a trip to a veterinarian after swallowing a conker, Molly’s family were notified of her whereabouts.

After being snatched from near her home in Wales, Molly was sold on to an unsuspecting family in South Yorkshire, 300 miles away. After eating a conker during a walk, her new owners rushed her to a vet, where a quick (more…)

Brits opt to stay at home with pets rather than holiday alone

by Leanne Thompson on October 13, 2011

A survey by high street retailer Wilkinson has found that UK dog owners would rather holiday in the British Isles with their pet than travel abroad without.

Millions of Brits were quizzed for the survey, and it yielded some surprising results.

It seems that galloping inflation and a weak pound isn’t the only thing putting us off holidaying abroad. More than a million pet owners said that they would rather take a break in the UK, or even have a ‘staycation’ – in other words, a holiday at home – with their pet than travel to sunnier, more exotic climes without it. The UK’s reputation as a nation of animal lovers was also (more…)

Will Kennel Club be brought to heel over ‘dirty tricks’?

by Mark James on October 12, 2011

In an attempt to curb foul play by dog owners, the Kennel Club put the blocks on grooming procedures that were deemed as ‘performance enhancing’. However, dog owners who disagree have revolted, and the law seems to be in disarray.

In the most recent Crufts event, a random test found that every dog chosen had its appearance helped by various methods, including chalk and hairspray. Poodles; Sandust Market Master and Glayvar Got Wot It Takes, tested positive for hair lacquer, whilst Alfie Prince of White Gallardo and Karamynd Play The Game, two West Highland terriers, were found to carry traces of a chalk dust.

Owners of breeds such as poodles admitted to using hair products to help keep (more…)

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